Legal Separation vs. Divorce | Columbus, OH

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Legal Separation vs. Divorce in Columbus, OH

What’s the Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce?

If your marriage appears to be falling apart but isn’t sure how to end it, it is important to understand the differences between legal separation vs. divorce in Columbus, OH first before making a decision. Choosing between the two legal options is often a matter of personal preference. 

Legal separation and divorce can be emotionally and financially draining experiences for any couple. If you’re facing marriage and family law issues, it’s essential to seek legal advice from our skilled Columbus family law attorneys at Sheppard Law Offices to navigate the complex legal system and protect your rights. Contact us now and schedule an initial consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options. 


What is Legal Separation?

Legal separation is a process that allows a couple to live separate lives while remaining legally married. It is more formal than just moving apart, though. You would need to get a court to approve your decision and put together a legal separation agreement. 

The advantage of legal separation is that it gives both spouses time to address the complex issues of a difficult marriage and come to a conclusion about how to best proceed. It can also be a way for couples to separate their lives while still maintaining certain legal benefits, such as health insurance or social security benefits.

In Ohio, legal separation is recognized by the court and requires the same legal procedures as a divorce, including the filing of a complaint, service of process, and a hearing before a judge. The couple will obtain a court order that outlines their rights and responsibilities regarding child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division. However, they will remain legally married and cannot remarry until they obtain a divorce.


What is Considered a Legal Separation in Ohio?

Ohio has a law that specifically provides for court action to obtain a legal separation. This is similar to filing for divorce. You will need to have appropriate grounds for the separation, although you do not have to be living separately to initiate the lawsuit. A top-ranking Columbus family law attorney can help you understand the common reasons for legal separation. 

Some possible grounds for filing an action for legal separation include but are not limited to the following:

  • Abuse or extreme cruelty
  • One spouse was physically and willfully absent from the marriage for at least one year
  • Adultery
  • Drug addiction
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Incarceration
  • Incompatibility


What is Divorce?

Divorce is a legal process that dissolves a marriage and allows both parties to remarry if they choose. It is a permanent solution for couples who no longer wish to be married. It can be a difficult and emotional process, but it can also provide a fresh start for both parties and allow them to move on with their lives. The end of their relationship signifies the end of their mutual legal obligations as married partners.

Ohio has “fault” and “no-fault” divorces. In no-fault divorce proceedings, both spouses agree that they are incompatible and that divorce is the right solution. In fault-based divorces, a spouse can allege that the other spouse is the reason or is at fault for the divorce. 

In a divorce, the court will divide the couple’s assets and debts, determine child custody and support, and may award spousal support to one party. Our competent Columbus family law attorneys can help you understand how divorce works in Ohio. 


What are the Grounds for Divorce in Ohio?

In Ohio, a divorce is initiated by filing a complaint with the court, which outlines the grounds for divorce and the relief sought by the party filing the complaint. The grounds for divorce in Columbus, Ohio, include:

  • Incompatibility
  • Adultery
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Willful absence for one year
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Gross neglect of duty
  • Fraudulent contract


Choosing the right reasons for your divorce can make a significant difference to how quickly and easily your divorce goes ahead, so it is important to give this careful consideration with the help of a qualified Columbus OH family law attorney before moving forward with your divorce petition.


What are the Key Differences Between Legal Separation and Divorce in Ohio?

Legal separation and divorce are two legal processes that allow a couple to end their marriage, but there are significant differences between them. If you’re having serious problems with your spouse, a divorce might seem like the only way to split off and protect your finances. However, a legal separation may offer the same protection as a divorce and in some cases works out better. When choosing legal separation or divorce, a credible Columbus family law attorney can help you compare these options and how they would impact your life.


Status of Marriage

One of the primary differences between legal separation and divorce in Ohio is that legal separation allows a couple to remain legally married, while divorce terminates the marriage. This means that after a legal separation, both parties are still considered married in the eyes of the law and cannot remarry until they obtain a divorce.


Property Division

In a legal separation, the court will divide the marital property based on the same principles used in a divorce, but the parties may still have some joint ownership of the property. In contrast, in a divorce, the court will divide the marital property between the parties and each spouse will have sole ownership of their share of the property.


Health Insurance

Legal separation may allow for the retention of some benefits, such as health insurance and certain Social Security benefits that end with divorce. If a couple is legally separated, they may still be able to maintain joint health insurance coverage, depending on the terms of their policy. However, if they obtain a divorce, the health insurance coverage will typically end for the non-covered spouse.



In a legal separation, reconciliation is easier. You can live separately and try to work on your issues. You can then decide if you want to stay married or divorce. A divorce is final, so you must remarry if you want a legal reunification.

Why Do I Need a Family Law Attorney in Ohio?

The decision to end a marital union is often one of the most challenging choices people will face during their adult lives. Legal separation and divorce are two legal processes that can end a marriage. It’s important to understand the similarities and differences before making any decisions that could impact your future.

At Sheppard Law Offices, our trusted Columbus family law attorneys can help guide you through the legal separation or divorce process in Ohio. Our legal team is dedicated to:

  • Helping you know and understand Ohio family laws and regulations that apply to your case and can help you navigate the legal system to achieve the best possible outcome.
  • Protecting your rights throughout the legal process and ensuring that your interests are represented
  • Working tirelessly to negotiate a fair settlement or advocate for you in court if necessary.
  •  Helping you avoid costly mistakes and ensure that your case is resolved as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Our family law firm understands the challenges of family law issues and is committed to providing our clients with the knowledge and experience they need to achieve the best possible outcome. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can assist you with your family law matters.

Call Our Seasoned Columbus Family Law Attorneys Now!

Whether you’re considering a legal separation or divorce in Ohio, navigating family law matters can be overwhelming and emotional. It’s crucial to work with our experienced Columbus family law attorney who can guide you through the process and protect your rights.

Our family law firm is dedicated to helping clients achieve the best possible outcomes for their legal matters. We understand the complexities of family law in Ohio, and are here to provide customized legal services that address your unique needs and concerns. We’ll work tirelessly to advocate for your best interests and ensure your legal rights are protected.

Don’t let the stress and uncertainty of family law matter weigh you down. We can also help you deal with bankruptcy, tax, probate, and estate planning issues. Schedule a free consultation with us today and take the first step toward resolving your legal issues.

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